The National Basketball Association is one of the hardest professional sports leagues to stay successful in when you get older, as basketball is best meant for the fast and athletic. With years of experience, the athleticism that players lose is not the end all be all for the best veterans, because they can re-tool their game multiple times in order to continue to produce. The average age of an NBA player hovers around 26 years old, so you have to hand it to everyone on this list no matter which side, because staying in the league is a skill of its own.
In this article, we will be looking at 20 aging NBA players, 10 of whom are still going strong at this point and 10 who need to retire. Some veterans just can't seem to keep up even nearly the same rate of play when they did when they were younger, while others seem to age and only get better. We've seen players hang around in the league a lot longer than they should, and some end up going overseas to finish their career, but some are able to play well into their late 30s. Here, we'll be looking at who's accomplishing that feat and who should just hang them up.
As always, feel free to leave any comments you have on this article in the comment section below, as we would love to hear your thoughts on this.Here are 10 aging NBA players going strong and 10 who need to retire. Enjoy!
20 Retire: Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki is easily one of the greatest NBA players of all-time and is the best foreign player to ever grace the hardwood. Hailing from Germany, Nowitzki has been in the NBA for a total of 20 years. In 2011, he won an NBA championship against LeBron James and the talented Miami Heat.
Now, at 40 years of age, Dirk has taken a backseat to the younger generation of Dallas stars such as Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic. While this is understandable considering they are 20 years younger than him, Dirk is barely hanging onto his career right now as he is clearly on his last legs this year. Shooting only 30 percent from the field and 20 percent from deep, this should really be Dirk's final year of a legendary career.
19 Going Strong: Vince Carter
Vince Carter is currently the oldest player in the National Basketball Association, and he is still going stronger than a lot of other players that are years younger than him. Carter is 41 years old, and is currently playing for the Atlanta Hawks were he is still showing he got game. He is only playing around 17 minutes per game, but he is managing to score the ball well for them as he is still producing. Vince has done an amazing job to evolve his game to work better with his age, as he was obviously one of the biggest high-flyers in basketball history years ago.
18 Retire: Joe Johnson
Nobody could stop Joe Johnson from getting buckets early in his career, but now at the age of 37, it would be the best move for Joe to call it quits. This season, he played for the Houston Rockets where he was supposed to add scoring power off the bench. Considering he really struggled to score efficiently, he was dropped from the team and is currently looking for another team to play for. He should take the hint that the Rockets gave him, and retire from the NBA at this point. He had an excellent career, but his game has fallen off from what it was when he was younger.
17 Going Strong: Tony Parker
While it didn't shake up the league too much, one of the biggest surprises from last summer's free agency was Tony Parker deciding to sign with the Charlotte Hornets rather than stay with the San Antonio Spurs. Although it was certainly a shock to many, Parker has looked really good for the Hornets playing behind Kemba Walker this year, as he is providing a nice spark for the team and is bringing a great veteran attitude. Averaging around 10 points in under 20 minutes per game, it is easy to see why Parker is still going strong at the age of 36.
16 Retire: Jamal Crawford
Jamal Crawford is one of the most decorated bench players of all-time, as he managed to win the Sixth Man of the Year award three times throughout his career. Crawford has been one of the better sparks off the bench in the league for a long time, but at the age of 38, his game has taken a toll. He is currently playing for the struggling Phoenix Suns, and it must not be very fun for Crawford losing games while not playing well. The Suns won't need his play next season and I am not sure what team will, and it would be the best move for Jamal to retire after this season.
15 Going Strong: J.J. Redick
Not only is J.J. Redick still going strong at the age of 34 years old, but we are also watching a prime Redick play for the Philadelphia 76ers as this is the best he has ever been. He is averaging a career-high in points per game and is stroking the ball from deep at a very high rate. Redick has always been considered as one of the better shooters in the league since his time on the Clippers, but for Philadelphia, he has taken his game to the next level. Redick still has a few years left in the tank as he is really doing his thing as a 76er right now.
14 Retire: Zach Randolph
Zach Randolph is one of the best examples of a franchise valuing younger talent rather than older talent. Randolph was putting up some solid numbers to begin the year for Sacramento, but he is now out of the rotation altogether, as the team would rather give minutes to their younger guys rather than the 37-year-old Randolph. When teams are cutting you out of the rotation altogether, a guy like Zach who has been a threat down low his whole career must really think about retiring because no one wants to ride the bench.
13 Going Strong: Kyle Korver
Kyle Korver has a perfect game suited for staying relevant in today's NBA because he can knock it down from deep and that probably won't change for a long time. Korver is currently back on the Utah Jazz, and he has looked really good for them so far since being traded from the Cavaliers. Korver is currently 37 years old, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from looking at his stats, as he is on fire from deep this season. Kyle Korver is still going strong and a lot of teams would love to have him.
12 Retire: Udonis Haslem
Udonis Haslem has spent many of years playing in the white and red for the Miami Heat, but he is now 38 years of age and is not doing the same things he did for the team like he used to. He has fallen out of the rotation completely, and while he may bring a lot of experience to the team, he should think about retiring at this point because next year there is probably no chance he plays any minutes for the team. Udonis Haslem is a Heat legend, and he should end the journey after this season.
11 Going Strong: Al Horford
Al Horford has been putting up numbers all around at the center position for a long time now, and he has now going strong with the Boston Celtics at 32 years old. The Boston Celtics lean on him to bring a veteran presence and an all-around game at center, and he has certainly done both of those things for them, as he was almost an All-Star last year. Horford has gone through many chapters in his NBA career, but this one with Boston could be one of his best as the team is primed to do some damage in the playoffs for years to come.
10 Retire: J.R. Smith
J.R. Smith is one of the more well known players in the league when it comes to bench players, because he really is one of the worst players in the league respectfully. While he has had his moments in the past with a few teams such as the Nuggets and the Knicks. Even winning a championship with the Cavaliers, J.R. has had a career a lot of guys would like to have. He is still on the Cavs roster as of now, where he was really struggling before they sent him home, and the best plan for him should be retiring after this season as things are just going to deteriorate more from here.
9 Going Strong: LeBron James
LeBron James isn't just going strong at age 34, he is going better than ever, as he is continuing to show people why he may just be the greatest basketball player of all-time. It doesn't even feel like he should be on this list because he is on a completely different planet than these guys right now, but he is in his 16th NBA season doing things that a lot of the most athletic rookies can't even do. LeBron James is the staple of excellent and consistent play, and he has no plans on slowing down soon as he continues to achieve greatness.
8 Retire: Raymond Felton
Raymond Felton has been in the NBA for 15 seasons, and while he has been a serviceable backup point guard for most of his career, that time has come to an end. He is now on the Thunder, and he has now stopped getting playing time for the team. Raymond is only shooting under 20 percent from deep when he has been in this season, and it looks as though Raymond won't have a spot with OKC when next season comes around. While he may be able to make it onto another team, he should retire this summer instead of trying to move his family and play for another franchise.
7 Going Strong: Marc Gasol
Marc Gasol is 34 years old and still going strong, as he has been one of the most consistent big men in the league for a long time now. Playing for the Grizzlies, it may not be the best spot for him if he is thinking about winning, but with the way he is playing, he could still have a great few years with a team that was contending for a championship. Gasol is putting up some solid numbers on an average Memphis squad, and he isn't showing too many signs of slowing down yet. He could easily go another few years.
6 Retire: Marcin Gortat
You have to hand it to Gortat, as he spent years on the bench to begin his career but finally made a way when he got older. His prime was spent with the Wizards, but the team could never string wins together when it came to playoff time, and he now finds himself on the Clippers. Gortat isn't producing all that much for the Clippers, and he doesn't have nearly the same role in Los Angeles than he did in Washington. Gortat should retire after this season, but he most likely will stick around and try to revive his career, which is respectable.
5 Going Strong: Pau Gasol
It must be something in the Gasol genes because both brothers make it on our list for going strong. Pau Gasol is four years older than brother Marc and has had the better of the two careers. An NBA champion, Pau has been very valuable to many great NBA teams throughout his career. Now playing for the San Antonio Spurs, Pau is still doing great things on the court. The elder Gasol has retooled his game to stay up with the athleticism of the league today, and he is still managing to put up great numbers.
4 Retire: Jason Terry
Jason "The Jet" Terry has had a long and successful NBA career after being drafted with the 10th pick in 1999. Terry is one of the best shooters in league history and even ranks 3rd in most three's made in a regular season which is really something special. Terry played for the Bucks last season but didn't manage to make it onto a roster for this current season. He is not officially retired yet and said he will only be "answering the phone" for a handful of contenders. I don't believe any of the teams he mentioned such as the Warriors or Lakers are going to call him, so I believe he should end his great NBA career now.
3 Going Strong: Dwyane Wade
This will be our final season having the pleasure of watching Dwyane Wade play the game of basketball for the Miami Heat. Wade has already announced that this will be his last season playing in the NBA, and he plans to retire when the season ends. Wade has had a spectacular career, and while he obviously doesn't have the same spark he once had, he is still going strong when you look at his age. As you can see in this article, a lot of guys try to hang around the league even when they are struggling badly, and Wade is retiring with dignity as he will go out being a valuable player for the Heat.
2 Retire: Jose Calderon
Jose Calderon is a rotation player for the Detroit Pistons and is currently getting around 13 minutes per game. Only averaging around 2 points per game on 33 percent from the field, Calderon is becoming a liability on both ends of the court which hasn't always been the case. Calderon is now getting up there in age as he is 37 pushing 38, and his time in the league could be coming to an end. Calderon has been sufficient at guard for a few teams, but that was a few years ago. Calderon should think about ending his long NBA career after this year in Detroit.
1 Going Strong: Shaun Livingston
Shaun Livingston was selected fourth overall in 2004 by the Clippers, and while injuries derailed his career early on for many years, he found a great spot in Golden State where he has won a multitude of championships. Shaun has developed a nice post game that has allowed him to become deadly from mid-range. Playing his best basketball as a Warrior, Livingston has gotten better with age and while he never played like a top 5 draft pick, at 33 years old he is playing great basketball for a team many feel is the most talented in NBA history.